Gabon court rejects challenges to Bongo poll win

Gabon’s Constitutional Court rejected yesterday challenges launched by the opposition to Ali Ben Bongo’s victory in an August presidential election, paving the way for Ben Bongo to replace his father as president.
Violence erupted in two of the oil-producer’s major cities shortly after the poll result was first announced but a disjointed collection of opposition parties failed to convince the court to reverse Ben Bongo’s win in a drawn-out challenge, Reuters reports.
“The election of Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba as president of the Republic of Gabon is confirmed,” Court President Marie Madeleine Mborantsuo, said in a decision read out on state television yesterday evening.
According to the final tally, Ben Bongo scored 41.8 % of the vote.
Veteran opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou replaced Andre Mba Obame, a former interior minister, in second place but Ben Bongo’s main rivals still lagged with just over 25 % each. The results from just two polling stations were cancelled.
The court’s confirmation of Ben Bongo’s victory was widely predicted by analysts who say his replacing Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for more than 40 years until he died in June, is likely to lead to a continuation of business-friendly policies.
Ben Bongo has already toured central Africa seeking to galvanise the support from leaders of a region his father’s presence dominated for much of his rule. Former colonial power France has already recognised Ben Bongo’s win.
However, Ben Bongo comes from the minority Teke tribe and failed to score a convincing overall win in the poll so, like his father, analysts say he is likely to need to seek consensus in governing a nation whose oil reserves are starting to dwindle.

Pic: President Ali Ben Bongo of Gabon